Author Topic: Information Security  (Read 922 times)


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Information Security
« on: December 22, 2015, 07:51:21 AM »
I couldn't find a topic for this, and it deserves one.

So, I'm starting this one off with this:  Researchers Solve Juniper Backdoor Mystery; Signs Point to NSA


As someone whose job entails staying on top of things like this, it seriously makes me simultaneously wonder how many more things there are out there just like this, and feel outrage for people who don't understand how incredibly bad intentional back doors in encryption really are.

It just kills me that Ed Snowden is still treated like a criminal by the mainstream press.
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Re: Information Security
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 11:03:11 AM »
It just kills me that Ed Snowden is still treated like a criminal by the mainstream press.

What bugs me about it . . . and I may have ranted about this before . . . is the improper focus of the story.  The big issue isn't that the NSA spies on us.  The NSA's entire job is to collect all data that they can.  All data.  I once saw an interview with a former NSA exec who said that the NSA spends more money employing professional mathematicians than all US universities combined.  They're not all working on encryption; a lot of them do stochastic analysis of weird shit.  Probably several people at the NSA are doing Heinleinian Year of the Jackpot charts, correlating crop cycles to crop circles to skirt hemlines.

If information is out there, the NSA is going to try to collect it and sort it.  I suppose that to some extent you can limit their budget, but I don't think they care if Congress tells them they can't do whatever.  You look at Carnivore and Omnivore, and it's clear that, no, they're going to collect whatever they literally can collect.  Most of the data they collect . . . is already collected somewhere else.  AT&T's data collection isn't magically more trustworthy.

That's a privacy issue, although it's not necessarily a privacy problem.  Even if the entire US GDP went to the NSA budget, they wouldn't have time to have someone personally spy on everyone, listen to every phone call, monitor our sex toy purchasing habits.  They're going to focus on trends, on buzzwords, etc, and zoom in where they feel they need to.  IF they're doing their jobs. 

The real problem is the issue of whether they're doing their jobs.  (No offense, NSA people!  It's just the truth.)  Are they abusing their power?  I mean, realistically, how much are they abusing it?  And are they behaving like security experts?

If Snowden could just walk out of there with a ton of classified information . . . then, no, they aren't doing their jobs.  If carefully collected and sorted data can waltz out of the NSA, then they're working for the enemy.  Why should, say, China bother to try to spy on us if they can just get information directly from the NSA? 

Because there's no way Snowden was the first one.  He was the first one to go public.  He was the first one with a conscience.  If he liberated valuable data, then lots of other people have.  They may have sold it to the RNC and DNC.  They may have sold it to China and Russia.  They may have sold it to AT&T and Google.  They may have sold it to lobbyists.  Maybe all of the above.  Probably all of the above.

That's the real scandal with Snowden.  And I don't believe that the NSA purposely gave him false data, or that he's still working for them, or blah blah blah.  It's possible, but it's less likely.